The Science Behind Highland Coffee

Understanding these scientific intricacies behind high altitude roasting helps coffee professionals unlock the potential for creating exceptional and distinct flavors that captivate the palates of coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

How does high altitude affect coffee?

At high altitude, temperatures are lower, and it is this cooler environment which is the key to growing great-tasting coffee. The many varieties of Arabica coffee plants grow between average temperatures of 16-23 degrees Celsius. Within that range, the lower the temperature, the better the chance of flavorful coffee.

Why does coffee taste better when roasted at high altitude?

At higher altitudes cooler temperatures slow down the growth rate of the coffee plant. At a slower growth rate the plants focus more on reproduction. The plant then devotes more energy to bean production which in turn produces more of the sugars that create those amazing tasting notes in your favorite coffee.

What is the science behind roasting coffee?

This roasting process creates a particularly complex chemical-physical phenomena as the coffee beans undergo many pyrolytic reactions. The chemical reactions induced by heat caramelize the sugars and carbohydrates and convert the fats within the coffee bean into aromatic oils.

What is a Maillard reaction in coffee?

The most important of these caramelization reactions is known as the Maillard reaction, a non-enzymatic reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that causes coffee beans to “brown”. The reaction also produces an abundance of flavor and aromatic compounds in the coffee, which contributes to its distinct taste.  Journey of flavor exploration.